PM Khan decides to establish a Customs Authority to fight smuggling

'A joint data bank will also be developed to collect information regarding smuggling activities'

The government will be establishing a Customs Authority, dedicated to improving the overall mechanism. With collecting data and information related to smuggling, it will also curb the inflow of non-duty paid items in Pakistan. Prime Minister Imran Khan took the decision while chairing a high-level meeting on Thursday.

Briefing the media about the details, Special Assistant to PM on Information Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan said that a joint data bank will also be developed following consultation with all agencies and departments. The departments posted in districts that were previously called FATA and bordering areas of Balochistan will be taken on board.

Dr. Awan added that currently, the most pressing problem is that currently the system and the departments are working in isolation. The lack of coordination makes it impossible to work effectively.

“Almost everybody from coast guard which patrols the coastline in the water to the customs department, civil and military intelligence agencies etc did not share their information and records with each other as a result of which smuggling could not be controlled,” Dr. Awan said.

“We are set to reduce human interaction at the maximum level and all departments posted at the borders and smuggling prone areas will provide their input to the central pool.”

Curbing the misuse of power within the Customs department:

She added that the Prime Minister has given a go-ahead to the establishment of Customs Authority to curb the misuse of power within the Customs department.

“The system currently is that all the cases, from imposing penalties to confiscating goods, are settled at the lower level. The Customs Directorate will be transformed into an authority and relevant stakeholders and departments would remain in close coordination with this body,” she added, further adding that the Customs Authority will be working within the Customs domain.

The meeting learned that Pakistan faces a yearly loss of about $6.94 billion, including $3.47 billion in terms of revenue loss, because of smuggling. Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan said for the first time, serious efforts are being made to curb smuggling in the country.

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